NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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直島ヤマツツジ Naoshima-yamatsutsuji Naoshima-Yamatsutsuji (Naoshima Mountain Azalea)

Jp En

On the small island of Naoshima in the Seto Inland Sea, near the mainland of Japan, the Yamatsutsuji (Mountain Azalea) has been pronounced as the area's representative flower.
   Every year, from the end of March through May, the mountain slopes are covered with clusters of pink mountain azaleas. Here, they are commonly known as naoshima-yamatsutsuji. It is said that the retired emperor, Munenori, who had a certain bond with this area, passionately loved this flower.  
   In the Taisho period, with the development of copper refineries, pollution spread rapidly, turning the northern half of the island into a bare, desolate mountain. Since then, much attention has been paid to encourage the regrowth of the island plantlife.
   Today, Naoshima is making great efforts to promote the island as an outstanding tourist resort and is actively participating in a campaign called Midori-Sousei, which is improving the land by aforestation.
   In 2004, following a big fire that raged across one-eighth of the island, naoshima-yamatsutsuji seeds were planted at the site of the fire as one of the main plants to help the scorched land to recover.
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